BETH IRELAND: A turner turns to teaching
Woodcraft Magazine|August-September 2020
Boston, 2007. Beth Ireland was at the top of her game.
Ken Burto

As a successful architectural woodworker specializing in woodturning, she was nearing the age when many people consider retirement. Instead, she went back to school to study sculpture. “Why not?” she says, “There were so many other things I wanted to learn.” But the program took her in a direction she didn’t anticipate. “I went to gain skills: metalworking, mold making. But it blew up into much morephilosophy, anthropology, community art, and an idea called relational aesthetics. It’s about taking your studio out into the world.” After completing the program, she did just that, outfitting a van as a mobile woodshop/apartment and teaching lathe work across the country in an odyssey, she called “Turning Around America.” These days, she continues the quest at craft schools and guilds across the country although it is not about teaching woodworking per se. It’s about empowering people to shape their world. “I have always loved making things for a living, and like to teach people that their own hands can support them both emotionally and fiscally.” While the current pandemic has curtailed her workshop schedule, it hasn’t stopped her from thinking up new ways to reach people through art and craft.

WM: Where do the topics for your workshops come from?

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